Super Tuesday Analysis

Last night was a pop the popcorn and make the red Kool-Aid night.

I thoroughly enjoyed Super Tuesday — that once every four years glorious exercise in democracy and chaos. The only thing that would have made last night better would have been contests in both parties like 2016. Oh man, that is so much fun. This year we only had the Democratic Party to have fun with, but that turned out to be enough. Here are my seven take-aways form the voting.

One: Sanders Caucuses better but primaries worse.

In 2016 Sanders did better in the caucuses than Hillary Clinton because caucuses support activism and energy. This year several states, like Minnesota, shifted from caucuses to primaries. I think that had a blunting effect on some of Bernie’s energy.

Two: It might really be about Hillary Clinton.

Oklahoma slipped away from Sanders. In 2016 he won it by ten percentage points. However, this year it went Biden by thirteen points. We must calculate the HC factor. Just as many people voted for President Trump in the general election because they couldn’t stomach Clinton, the same thing might have been happening in the primaries. Bernie perhaps never had as much real support as the 2016 campaign indicated.

Three: Jill Biden is the new James Bond.

Jill Biden’s literally having her husband’s back when some whack job stormed the stage to protest . . . milk, Dr. Jill Biden sprung into action, used proper footing and leverage, moved herself into a defensive posture, and handled the situation. Like. A. Pro.

Four: The Democratic Party is moderate/centrist.

In most of the states, if you total the Biden and Bloomberg vote and compare it with the totals of the Sanders and Warren vote, the Biden/Bloomberg coalition dominates. In fact, the demise of Elizabeth Warren, who came in THIRD in her home state is shocking. I always thought she missed her moment. She should have run in 2016 but she demurred to Clinton and it cost her. Sanders has a ceiling, and it is about twenty-eight. Even in very liberal Massachusetts, the Warren/Biden coalition only beat the Biden/Bloomberg group by three points.

Five: Barack Obama has long coattails.

Biden’s success is a borrowed success. People voted for him because of the Obama legacy of solid, stable, no drama-Obama governance. That is what people were voting for — rejecting the revolution and rejecting the message candidates in favor of familiar.

Six: We can do better than this.

Why on earth did anyone have to stand in line for more than fifteen minutes or so to vote? I do not understand places in Texas and California where people were lined up for more than two hours. FIX THIS!

Seven: Zingers!

I heard some great lines last night. Perhaps the best was Brian Williams: “Michael Bloomberg isn’t having the kind of night he thought he paid for.” That is just beautiful. Brit Hume had another great line — “If Biden wins and he debates Donald Trump, the loser will be the English language.” That is a special kind of snark right there which I appreciate very much. Of course, Brit Hume currently has his own bag of vinyl problems.

The Las Vegas Democratic Debate

I don’t have a lot of time for detailed analysis — but here is my hot take. Keep in mind as you read, Greenbean has no dog in this hunt, no horse in the race, no lettuce in this salad. I don’t trust any politicians but I enjoy observing the process. This makes me perfectly impartial.

Let me take them in order as they come to mind.

Exactly how many nondisclosure agreements have you signed with
former employees, Mr Weinstein, I mean, Mayor Bloomberg?

Elizabeth Warren crushed it. Desperation seems to bring out the best in her. Her performance last night made me yearn to see her and President Trump on the same stage together. We could erase the national debt selling tickets to that event. I really liked how she called out Bloomberg right out of the gate. That was priceless, and her line about ‘substituting one arrogant billionaire for another’ was brilliant. Great rhetoric.

Why is Joe Biden screaming? He seems to have no middle tone. Uncle Joe is either down home folksy or angry yelling. I don’t think that is a strategy for long term endearment. He should go eat some ice cream and chill. I know his main asset is the association with President Obama, but he needs to stop talking about that. President Obama won the last election he’ll ever have. If Biden wants to be President, he needs to tell us about him.

Bloomberg was not prepared. Surely someone on his staff briefed him on how they would come at him? Surely? If not, Mayor Bloomberg, for a couple of billion of your dollars, I’ll help you get ready for the next one. If – you – make – it – that- far.

Bernie Sanders would get crushed by Donald Trump. The class envy which fuels his platform is only working for a third of Democrats, but the United States would choose mean tweets and Apprentice: White House (who will get fired this week?) over someone coming to take their hard earned livelihood. Capitalism is not perfect, but Bernie Sanders has a real disdain for it.

Amy Klobuchar didn’t have a strong night like she did in New Hampshire, but she recovered from the cheap shot Pete Buttigieg and had the best closing statement. Klobuchar needs to smile more — Like President Obama had, her smile is a powerful tool at her disposal. It would also behoove her to get specific. When the Univision Reporter scolded her for not knowing the President of Mexico’s name, she should have turned that around and said, “You’re right. It was a bad moment, I forgot his name, but what I will never ever forget is children in cages on the border, and here is the policy I will implement immediately . . .”

Pete Buttigieg had moments where he came across as human and reasonable. He also had moments where he was petulant and, I must say, cringeworthy. His attacks on Klobuchar were forced and unnatural in the context. I also think he missed the memo that Bloomberg and Bernie were the targets. But then, he kind of likes his billionaires. Also, and this is completely aesthetic, but it looked like Buttigieg forgot to pack his razor. I mean, if he is growing a beard that would be awesome, but the day old stubble didn’t look good at all.


Two more observations real fast before I get to work. First, the moderators for this event were not very good. I don’t know what their plan was, but they kept talking over the candidates, one another, and trying to orchestrate ‘gotcha’ moments. That is not what voters want from moderators. Ask policy or issue questions and them step back, please. Second, Anyone besides me notice foreign policy and the gun debate were missing from this debate? In other words, this debate was served up perfectly for Bernie Sanders.

What Would Free College Be Worth?–Meditations on Bernie Sanders’ Plan

Yesterday (24 June 2019) Senator Bernie Sanders upped the discussion among those candidates hopeful of winning the Democratic nomination. If I understand his plan, there are two parts to it.ap_738914881801-smaller_slide-c38afbf1af02da96e2f3e6688d883493538cf8cd-s800-c85

Part One: Offer free tuition at public universities and trade schools to everyone.

Part Two: Cancel all existing student loan debt.

ABC news reported it this way on their website:

Sen. Bernie Sanders introduced his most sweeping plan yet to tackle the increasing cost of a higher education, introducing a bill Monday that would make public colleges and trade schools tuition free and cancel outstanding student loan debt for everyone full article here

I completely understand why some people want these changes. It starts with the pernicious problem of history majors from Princeton with $150,000 in student loan debt only qualified to teach history for $45,000 a year. I feel for these situations, I really do. I was able to attend the college of my choice because of financial aid, but still had to borrow some money to finish. A four-year university is expensive and the most expensive schools and degrees do not always offer promising jobs in the future, especially if all you have is an undergraduate degree.

Yet there are problems with the Sanders’ plan. If you make something free, the value plummets. By excusing debt, those who have already paid their loans back and those who chose to go to local schools, work through, and leave debt free are punished.

I have five big concerns that make me opposed to Sanders’ (and Warren’s) plan. I want you to know, though, I could be talked otherwise, as these are where I start from not where I may finish. A solid argument could persuade me. I just haven’t heard the solid argument yet.

Objection 1: If tuition at public institutions, like my alma mater, the University of Texas, is free then it will only be a matter of time before a university education at a public school is downgraded to essentially be a biggie sized high school diploma.

Objection 2: When public institutions are so constrained, the dividing line between public and private will only increase (a distinction that is currently neglible) with no public school able to get into the top tier. This will further divide the haves and the have nots.

Objection 3: Many private schools are religious institutions. By excusing debt accumulated, say, at BYU or Notre Dame, the government is funding religious education. As a Baptist, I have a hard time accepting this.

Objection 4: Canceling that much debt at one time, with no obligation or payment of any kind from those who amassed the debt, creates two immediate problems. The first problem is artificially tilting the free market economy.  The second problem is the expectation of a whole generation of mostly young people that they can have someone else pay their debt. It undermines responsibility, which is something college is supposed to teach.

Objection 5: Going forward, what do we do? If you cancel the debt now, in five years there will be students with loans needing to be paid back. Is this a perpetual promise, because that would get expensive fast. Free tuition doesn’t cover the most expensive part of college–room and board, thus guaranteeing there will always be college loans and college loan debt problems.

I am cynical of Sanders’ plan, because the Democratic candidates are falling all over themselves to give away more and more free stuff in an effort to get elected. I have a counter proposal. It is three parts. Part one, increase both need based and merit based federal aid while putting tougher limits on how much money can be borrowed. Part two, instead of free college, spend money on healthcare and create a universal care system. That would take a big spending burden off the entire public. Part three, expand and make for easier application the methods of having individual student loans forgiven. Some methods already exist, but these could be increased to include things like volunteering at your child’s school or a local food bank, jury duty, or donating blood or plasma.

 

Some Analysis On What Happened

Warning: What follows is snarky political commentary. Read at your own risk.

Waiver: I am not partisan. I am too concerned about the unborn to be a Democrat. I am too much in favor of immigration and open borders to be a Republican. I am too cynical of the human condition to be a Libertarian. I trust no politician.

Disclosure: I will not, at any point in the future, buy or read Hillary Clinton’s book. Its just not something I’m inclined to do.

hillary.jpg

What Happened is the title of her book. It is not lost on me that her book title doesn’t have a question mark. She is not asking, she is telling. And that is perhaps as much insight as anyone needs into why she lost in the first place. Nevertheless, I take it as a question. What follows are my answers to her not-so-rhetorical question.


  1. Hillary lost. That is what happened. She was a bad candidate. I am not a Trumper, and that has been made manifest on the pages of this blog before, but he out campaigned her. It has been said before, and should be said again– There is nothing anyone else did that kept her from going to Wisconsin. It could be argued that Trump didn’t win; Clinton lost.
  2. The emails are a fact of her own making. She tries hard to blame Jim Comey for her defeat as if he invented the problem. The problem was one she made. If one thinks on it from a certain perspective, Comey can become a sympathetic character who was between a rock and a hard place as it concerned the Clinton emails.
  3. Bernie Sanders did her a favor. If Sanders hadn’t been such a magnetic candidate, even fewer people would have cared about the election from the Democratic end. The truth is, the Dems made a terrible mistake in fronting HRC to begin with. Elizabeth Warren would have been the preferred candidate, IMHO to either Bernie or HRC. The only positive thing for the Dems is that the table is set for a strong Warren run in 2020. I, for one, think that Warren V. Trump would be compelling to watch. I’m already making popcorn and Kool-Aid. I mean, can you imagine the fiery Elizabeth Warren’s righteous indignation if Trump would have stalked her in a a debate the way he did HRC? She would have lit him up right then and there.
  4. America is sick of the Clintons. In many ways, she lost for the same reason Jeb Bush could never get traction in the GOP primaries. Most people are ready to move on. I am one of them.
  5. Benghazi mattered. Yeah, that was a big deal to a lot of people. I understand diplomacy means risks, but the way she and President Obama tried to sell that debacle to the American public was a disgrace and many Americans remembered that at the voting booth.
  6. If she couldn’t handle Trump’s tactics in the campaign, how on earth did she expect to handle Russia, China, and North Korea? I think Putin might have overplayed his hands when he worked so hard at undermining the Clinton campaign, because he would have run roughshod over her presidency.
  7. Whining is not pleasant. As a leader, you have to own your problems, and sometimes even own the problems of others. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve taken the blame for something I had nothing to do with, but because I’m the leader it is my responsibility. Blaming others and whining is not productive. Someone should tell her this.
  8. There is a gender problem in our country, and some people didn’t vote for her because she was a woman.  That is true. It is stupid and sad, but true. However, that is not why she lost. There are some people that didn’t vote for Trump just because he was a man, or who voted for Obama because he was black or didn’t vote for him because he was black or didn’t vote for Bush because he was from Texas or because he was from Texas. A strong candidate worthy of being the President of the United States overcomes this. How many people didn’t vote for Kennedy because he was Catholic? or Romney because he was Mormon? I don’t think I ever heard Mitt Romney complain about Mormon bias.

I do not wish HRC any ill will. I wish her the best. I want her to ride off into the sunset with Bill and spend time being a grandmother, doing philanthropy, advocating for women’s issues, and perhaps giving political commentary whenever she wants. But I don’t ever want to see her name on ballot again. Her time is up.